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COMIC REVIEW: BATMAN #659

Author: Bill Ramey
Wednesday, November 29, 2006

FROM DC COMICS: "Don't miss a 4-part murder mystery by the acclaimed team of John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake (THE SPECTRE), starting with two chapters in December! Three horrific murders rock Gotham with only one gruesome connection: parts of the victim's faces have been carved away. Meanwhile, a brutal Russian gangster called Perun threatens Amina Franklin, a doctor working at Leslie Thompkins clinic, which brings in not only the Batman but his bizarre new foe: Grotesk!"

Picked up the new BATMAN issue # 659 by writer John Ostrander and artist Tom Mandrake -- and read it as usual.

This is what I do now, read Batman comic books and go to work. Read Batman comic books and watch the Dallas Cowboys. Read Batman comic books and search the Net and hit up my sources for news on THE DARK KNIGHT (Ahhhhhhh!). Read Batman comic books and go to the gym. Read Batman comics and hang with the family.

Sorry y‘all, kinda got off on a tangent there.

Nonetheless, as I was reading, I thought I had DETECTIVE in my hands. And that’s not a bad thing.

In this solo Batman story (well so far, no sidekicks to be found), a mysterious and violent vigilante tabbed “Grotesk” by the press, is killing in a unusual way: he cuts off half their face and then procedes to set the poor bastard on fire!

As The Batman investigates these murders, he finds himself taking on Gotham’s Russian mob. Stay with me on this one, OK? It seems that the brother of one of the doctors who works at Leslie Thompkin’s clinic owes this Russian mob money. He’s dead, they want their coin, so they’re coming after her. And throwing a monkey wrench into all of that, this doctor once dated Bruce Wayne!

In any case, The Batman’s investigation of the murders, while also checking out a lead that a hit will be made on the Thompkins clinic (by this Russian mob I told y‘all about), puts The Dark Knight and this Grotesk on a collision course.

So what’s the what’s the deal with this vigilante/villain/killer of bad guys Grotestk? What’s the young doctor’s connection to the Russian mob -- and obviously to this Grotesk for that matter? I guess we’ll find out on down the line because this is a four part storyline.

As far as my “critical analysis,” if you prefer DETECTIVE over BATMAN, you’ll like this for sure. The tone of Ostrander’s story is much different than that of regular writer Grant Morrison -- a little darker, a little more “Detective,” if you will.

Also, Mandrake’s artwork was superb! If you like “billowing cape Batman,” you’ll dig what you see during his run.

Oh yeah, still no sign of “A-Hole Batman.” Thumbs up on that my dear readers!

I said "thumbs up," not "middle finger," OK!

"Jett" is the founder and editor-in-chief of BATMAN ON FILM, BATMAN IN COMICS, and ON-FILM.NET.

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